MONTANA: Gone are the flashing green neon lights on street corners advertising $200 ounces of marijuana in Billings and Butte and beyond. Gone are the traveling cannabis caravans of doctors infamous for signing up hundreds of medical marijuana hopefuls in a single day.
The vast majority of the nearly 30,000 patients and 4,900 providers that once flooded this state of just more than 1 million people have been driven out of Montana’s medical marijuana program, which was first legalized in 2004.
These days, those who remain in the state’s medical marijuana system deal in a combination of currency and uncertainty as they await the outcome of a state Supreme Court case that could cripple what’s left of the industry. A decision could come as soon as October, according to James Goetz, a lawyer who represents the medical marijuana industry.
Depending on the court’s ruling, medical marijuana providers could be banned from charging patients a penny, save recouping $50 license fees and renewals. Providers could be limited to three patients each. And the businesses could be blocked from advertising.